Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Daily Wear in NYC

Leaving for New York in just 5 days and I could not be more excited. And of course, I can't wait to reinstate my summer wardrobe. Last summer, I lived in skirts, dresses, blouses and sandals, and I'm so ready to get back to that versatile, classic (but still so simple) look. Catch me in ensembles just like the two below all summer long.. I'm in love with the J.Crew + Liberty of London floral print espadrilles, and the blue and white pattern on this skirt from my favorite UK store, Topshop.

J.CREW collection beaded shirt
J.CREW double crepe skirt
J.CREW mini-wedge espadrilles
J.CREW embroidered gauze top
TOPSHOP contrast floral skirt
ZARA sandals with tassels

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

London's Best Markets

One of the best things about Europe? The markets. And London is no different. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that some of the world's most legendary markets are located in this incredible city. While I may be a little biased, I've also visited quite a few and have lots of tips to share. The markets in London are varied and enormous, and can satisfy nearly any sort of craving, whether it be for gooey melted cheese or age old antiques. Here's my top four to hit:

Portobello Road Market: On the bright and pastel colored streets of Notting Hill, you'll find what is probably my favorite market in London. It's fine to visit everyday, but the magic really happens on Saturday (head early to beat the crowds) to catch the antiques market. Gorgeous home wares, such as floral printed teacups and pots, vintage books (even some first editions), old maps, and even bigger pieces of furniture tucked inside some of the streets' shops -- anything an antique lover could wish for. Be sure to check out one of my favorites on Portobello Road: the Blue Door: great for London souvenirs, adorable tea ware, and beautiful maps of London drawn by a local artist! I of course picked one up before I went home.
TUBE: Notting Hill Gate (Central, Circle and District Lines)

Camden Markets: Settled in North London,  is like market MECCA. There's the lock market, the stables market, the tourist shops lining Camden High Street. There's food stands representing every nationality imaginable, jewelry stands, vintage stores, clothes, sunglasses, purses and bags, headbands, books - the list goes on and on. These markets is worth hours of perusing and multiple visits. Be sure to save room for food and grab something to go so you sit on the motorcycle seats that line the canal on a nice day. As with all markets, haggling is the name of the game here, so be sure and try to get the best price you can (or feel comfortable doing -- I'm not the best haggler).
TUBE: Camden Town (Northern Line)

Borough Market: Foodies, take note. A visit to London won't be complete without a trip to Borough Market. This market is solely food, so come hungry. Notable buys are the paella (made in huge, drool-inducing paella pans) and the famous grilled cheese. There is also tons of pastries, breads, teas, juices, wines, etc, not to mention nearby restaurants. Get some grub here and then walk the short distance to the Tate Modern for an afternoon art viewing! It's open Thursday-Sunday.
TUBE: London Bridge (Jubilee, Northern Lines)

Spitalfields Market: This is the market I'm least familiar with, so my tips will be brief. My main thing to say: check it out. I barely spent any time here while in London, and I regret it. Why? One, because Spitalfields is an awesome area with a lot of history. Two, this place is HUGE. They've got all your market staples, and more. Tons of stalls. Lots to purchase and peruse. Anything you're looking for, there's a good chance you can find it here. Unlike Camden, Spitalfields is located semi-indoors and in one giant space. However, the East End Markets and Beigel Shop are nearby and are definitely worth a visit. If you're craving curry, head to Brick Lane. The best day to hit this one up is Sunday.
TUBE: Liverpool Street (Central, Circle, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City Lines)

images: two four


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Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Roundup

Happy Friday! Any big plans for your weekend? This is my last full weekend in Chicago before I head out to NYC for the next 10 weeks, so I plan to take advantage: spend time with friends, take a trip downtown, eat some good food, and spend lots of time sleeping and relaxing before it's back to the days of waking up early. Although to tell you the truth: I can't wait!

A few of my favorites from the week...

Loved the BuzzFeed article on "15 Ways You Know You Went to Syracuse University". It's embarrassingly accurate.

I love most things at Tobi, but this lace skater dress has to be one of the best. It's so perfect for summer!

One of my favorite bloggers, Sophie of The Littlest Things, posted a guide to 48 hours in London over on Ears Eyes Mouth and Lens. I'm completely obsessed and now dying to get back to London!

Kate came out of hiding this week and showed off her growing bump in a gorgeous Emilia Wickstead yellow coat. More to come on my own Kate sightings next week!

Wish I could see Pete from Mad Men as Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice (one of my favorite books of all time!) in Minneapolis!

When good things come together, it's happiness. Like Saint James and Coach's recent collaboration. Loving everything, especially the mini bucket bag.

Deb from Smitten Kitchen always gets it right: dying to try her Sangria recipes.

This infographic on tipping around the world is super interesting, especially after spending a semester in Europe! 


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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pinterest Spotlight: Donnetta Murray

I have to admit, I fell off the Pinterest bandwagon over the past semester. I had limited WiFi access in my flat in London, and the only thing worse than watching videos for my bandwidth levels was looking at image heavy pages. Therefore, I had a bit of a 'pintermission' over the course of the past four months. Upon my return to the US, I've started pinning with my former fervor, especially when it comes to images of gorgeous European sights, especially those in England, and of course, London. 

One of my favorite pinners I've recently discovered is Donnetta Murray. Her boards could entice feelings of wanderlust in even the biggest homebody. Scrolling through her pins I'm aching to return to Italy (Florence, Venice, and even a board dedicated to the beautiful Lake Como), the English Countryside, and France. Not to mention her boards for the home (don't these bedrooms just make you want to curl up and sleep?) and the outdoors (nothing better than dining al fresco). Just looking through her Pinterest and I'm already beginning to plan my return to Europe. 

Check out Donnetta's Pinterest for even more gorgeous shots. Where are you dreaming of a vacation to right now?


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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Traveler: Istanbul

I was super, super lucky to have the opportunity to go to Istanbul with my study abroad program in London. I've never been that far east before, and it was the perfect city to go to with the help of our experienced tour guide and a big group of my classmates. From dining on kebabs and hummus all weekend to visiting stunning mosques to shopping at the bazaars, it was definitely one of my favorite trips from my experience abroad!

The Blue Mosque

Istanbul's a HUGE city, and there's no way you can do it all in just a weekend. I had the best situation because everything was planned for me, but here are a few of the top experiences I had in Istanbul.

1. Visiting the Mosques: The most famous of which, are of course, the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. Both are stunning on the inside and outside and are of course worth the visit. Conveniently enough, they're located across from one another. There's a ton of beautiful mosques in the city, many of which are worth a visit, but if you're going to do two, stick with these -- they're centrally located and beautiful.

2. Shopping at the Bazaars: The two best, in my opinion, are the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar. Be prepared to haggle, I'm not the best at it and probably could have saved some lira had I tried harder. One friend got a necklace down from 150 to 55 (75 USD to 27 USD!). Head to the Grand Bazaar for beautiful pillowcases, ceramic bowls and plates, mounds of jewelry, and of course, as much tourist items as you can manage (think tee shirts, key chains, etc). At the Spice Bazaar, stock up on spices, soaps, turkish delight, as well as many of the goods you can find in the Bazaars.

3. Turkish Baths: A friend and I decided to spend our remaining Turkish lira at a traditional Turkish bath. While we decided to go to the more 'touristy' one, we still felt that we were getting an experience unlike anything we've ever had before. We both got the second most basic package, which included a 'bath' and a 15 minute massage. The whole practice was basically getting washed by a (large, half-naked) Turkish woman. It was definitely cultural, but something to experience and very relaxing!

4. Indulge in the Eats: Turkish cuisine is delicious, and there's much to devour in the city. Be sure to eat lots of kebabs, shwarma, and of course, the desserts: Baklava and Turkish Delight are delicious and to die for! Tons of shops on the street, as well as the bazaars, sell these, so be sure to stock up!

With friends in front of the Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque

Across the street, the Hagia Sophia

Inside the Blue Mosque

Evil Eyes -- all over Istanbul!

Turkish Delight!

Spices at the Bazaars

Busy streets of Istanbul.

Gorgeous mosques with overwhelming domes are all over the city

Istanbul's famous Spice Bazaar. To get this shot, I just lifted my camera above my head in the crowd and snapped away!

Gorgeous painted tiles all over the mosques and the whole city! The patterns were stunning

The beautiful Bosphorus seen from the ferry on the way to the Asian side of Istanbul!

Turkish flags were everywhere! Our chaperone told us that the Turks are a very proud people. It showed!

Sunset on the Bosphorus with a view of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia in the distance. Unearthly beautiful.

Istanbul by night.


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Monday, May 20, 2013

Interior Lust

The closest I'll (hopefully) ever get to a nomadic lifestyle is my life in college. Especially over the past year. I realized today that in the past year, I've lived in 4 different homes (about to be 5 in two weeks) on a semi-permenant basis. From Syracuse to London to New York to Chicago, I'm feeling a little 'homeless' (not really). But most of all, I'm craving to have a permanent home (of my own, sorry Mom, but I'm a little over the whole 'living at home' thing) to decorate. While my first out of college home will most likely be the size of a postage stamp, here's a few photos of homes I'm lusting after.

Love the quilted headboard and chevron curtains

All these stripes would be a little overwhelming in a bedroom. However, I love the window opening to the canopy

I've always had a thing for chaise lounges. There's something very old-fashioned and elegant about them.

Gorgeous dark wood furniture and paneling? Swoon.

Such formally rustic paneling on the floor, love the trunk as a table as well

Bare, but still beautiful



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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

(Sun) Dressed Up

Finally the stars have aligned and given me some warmer temperatures. It seemed that it got cooler back at home in Chicago the minute I arrived from London. But now it seems like they're here to stay, and all I cant think about is sundresses galore. I'm putting myself on a serious spending freeze for the foreseeable future to make up for London and prepare for New York (less than three weeks!), but a girl can dream in the meantime, right?

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dressing Up Kate

After spending the semester in London, I've become even more of Kate Middleton style stalker than I was before. WWD published sketches from the world's top designers, each with their own take on how the young royal should dress up her growing baby bump. 

Love the ruffles and salmon pink of Chloe's design

Amanda Wakeley, a Kate favorite

Points to Andrew Gn for a lifelike sketch of her face.

Somehow I think Karl Lagerfeld's design may be pushing the envelope a bit too much

Beautiful top embellishments and a full skirt by Lela Rose

I love them all! Although some would be hard-pressed to actually find their way into Kate's closet (Karl Lagerfeld, I'm looking at you). See the rest at WWD!

If only everyday was Saturday

While I may have discovered new shops, brands and markets galore during my semester abroad, I definitely missed some of my favorite American brands (J.Crew, in particular. London store opens this fall). As well, I missed new launches, price slashing sales, and all other developments in my favorite American go-to's. The biggest one that flew under my radar was the launch of Kate Spade Saturday, Kate Spade's more moderately priced line. I love the fun patterns in bright colors and the classic cuts of all the pieces. Here are a few favorites, not including the customizable weekender bag (it's even monogrammable!) Love!

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